Chicago's youth might not be aware, but as of two years ago, they've been on curfew. No one under the age of 17 is legally allowed out of the house unsupervised past 10 p.m. on weeknights, and 11 p.m. on weekends, thanks to an ordinance pushed for by former mayor Richard M. Daley.
Now, three aldermen are hoping to make an even earlier curfew for younger kids.
According to WBEZ, Aldermen Toni Foulkes (15th Ward), Michelle Harris (8th) and Lona Lane (18th) are sponsoring an ordinance that would require children twelve and under to be indoors before 8:30 p.m. on weeknights, and 9:00 p.m. on weekends.
"I've seen kids seven and eight years old going to store. I don't know what they're going to the store for. I don't know if they are going to get chips for dinner, I don't know. But I know they don't need to be out at night unsupervised," said Foulkes, according to ABC-7. "They get recruited for gangs and if they are out after dark, they are prime prey for that."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police superintendent Garry McCarthy both came out in favor of earlier curfews, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. McCarthy said that earlier curfew laws would be helpful, although they're only one piece of the crime prevention puzzle: "It's like chicken soup," he said. "They can't hurt, but I never saw them cure cancer."
Another voice in favor was Ron Holt, the head of the city's community policing initiative and the father of Blair Holt, a 16-year-old who was killed in a gang shooting on a CTA bus, throwing himself in front of bullets to save a friend's life.
"We would probably decrease the kids getting into trouble or becoming victims of crime" with an earlier curfew, Holt told the Sun-Times. "And for parents who are not paying attention and let that child run wild in the streets, it'll make them pay more attention to how long their child is out of the house."
Many other major cities have curfews, though New York, Boston and many others don't. In Chicago, parents are subject to a $500 fine if their children violate the curfew.